Our local NHS has been allocated up to £450 million to build a new hospital or to upgrade existing hospitals, or a combination of both. This money is in addition to the £135 million committed to upgrading some wards at Treliske and building a new women’s and children’s hospital there too.
It is for our local NHS Health and Care service leaders, working together, to decide how best to use this funding and to develop plans to deliver safe and excellent services for local people. Funding is available to them right now to undertake this work. I am asking them to consider carefully how we can use some of this funding to upgrade Falmouth hospital. I think it is vitally important that frail elderly people or those with chronic health conditions that need regular treatment, receive care as close to their home, family and friends as possible.
I am delighted that the Government has decided that this capital investment will be publicly funded and not through Private Finance Initiatives. The last Labour Government saddled so many public services, including local schools, with years and years of debt and ongoing charges that they have little control over.
While buildings are important, ensuring that we have well trained and well-paid staff is just as important, so I am pleased that the day to day funding that our local NHS receives is growing each year. Back in 2010 we did not receive our fair share of funding but now our local NHS receives just over the England average per person funding.
This week the PM has also confirmed that, after we leave the EU, the funding that Cornwall currently receives via a number of EU funding streams will be replaced ‘like for like’ with the Shared Prosperity Fund. Following the result of the EU Referendum I was determined to ensure that Cornwall would continue to receive the same level of funding as if we had stayed. This designated funding for Cornwall will be £400 to £600 million over seven to ten years. Cornwall will also be able to access all the other public funding steams.
Decisions about how it will be spent will be made in the Duchy. I am determined that there is much less bureaucratic process, with more transparency and accountability in the design and implementation of the Shared Prosperity Fund than the legacy funding.
This is exactly what I have been pressing the government for. All Cornwall’s MPs, along with our Local Enterprise Partnership leaders, will be meeting with the Treasury Minister to work through next steps.
There has been good progress made in developing our local economy with more high-quality education opportunities and better paid fulltime jobs in sustainable businesses. We need to keep up the momentum that has been created and continue with investment into our infrastructure so that the talents and ambitions of people in Cornwall are unleashed and so that we can become one of the most prosperous regions, not the least, by growing our economy sustainably and inclusively.
First published in the West Briton 02/10/19